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Infectious Disease

Chicago fire lieutenant dies from West Nile Virus, donates brain to science

A Chicago Fire Department lieutenant bitten by a mosquito about two weeks ago died Thursday night from the West Nile virus, MyFoxChicago reported.

The mosquito bit Lt. Thomas Flahive, 58, during a family trip to Wisconsin two weeks ago, Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said.

The men of Engine Company 108 from the Milwaukee and Laramie firehouse said they never thought a big, strapping guy like Flahive would lose his life because of a mosquito bite.

According to officials, he was bitten by a carrier mosquito and started exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He later slipped into a coma, suffered irreversible brain damage and did not survive.

Friday was a tough day for firefighters who knew that their brother was sick and in the hospital for a couple of weeks, but they never imagined this would happen to him.They said he had a lot of character, big personality, so they are all very saddened by this.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Faith, and three adult children, Langford said.

His family has decided to donate his brain to science so scientists can figure out more about the West Nile virus and how it affects the human body.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed 179 human cases of West Nile Virus in 2012, resulting in six deaths.

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